Women are hardest hit by cutbacks in TV industry

Women have borne the brunt of cutbacks in the television industry in the past three years, with the number employed in the sector falling by 20%, against an industry average of 10%, research has revealed.

Preliminary findings of a 2009 census, by creative industries training body Skillset, show that there are 5,300 fewer people working in the sector now, compared with its last study in 2006.

In 2006, 55,850 people were working across the sector, compared with 50,550 this year. There is a huge disparity by gender, with 5,000 fewer women working in TV and just 300 fewer men.

Skillset executive director, Kate O’Connor, told the Guardian: “It is a real worry: a drop like this in a short period suggests a talent drain.

“But we can’t say what are the reasons; though the drop is so dramatic, we haven’t carried out that work yet. I honestly can’t comment on who is leaving, their ages, or why, because the census doesn’t show that.

“We intend to investigate and produce a larger report on 1 February, which will also cover issues such as equality.”

The TV sector, as defined by Skillset, covers staff and freelance employees in terrestrial TV (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five), cable and satellite TV (including Sky, UKTV and Virgin Media), independent production, community TV and TV distribution.

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